But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9 ESV)
We like to draw dividing lines. Just look at a map. Sometimes you have to wonder if the people who made borders were on drugs or just plain confused, but nonetheless they drew lines of separation. Church is no different. Those people over there believe this or do that or worship this way or that, but we do it this way and that’s right.
We draw lines.
Now some lines are crucial, for example theological lines. When the lines of orthodoxy smear we approach dangerous territory. If I believe Jesus is the son of God and you think He was just a prophet, we stand on different foundations. Some lines matter.
But let’s talk about the church – the bride of Christ. The church is the group of people who believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and who believe that He died for their sins and raised from the dead to conquer sin and death. That includes a Southern Baptist church in Kansas and Christians in a mud hut in the African desert. They’re all one people – a chosen race.
So what are we all doing, this massive world-sized glob of people with different colors and ages and shapes and places? Are we just ants running around on a hill in different directions?
“…that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
When you see a “that” in the Bible, pay attention. The words after “that” tell you why God did something. We are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a people for His own possession, that we might proclaim His excellencies. In other words, God called us together, saved sinners of all tribes, to bring Him honor and glory and to delight in Him.
How incredible. That means the goat-herder and the CEO have the same purpose, granted with different contexts. This “that” provides a purpose for us and a true north. If what you’re doing in your life is proclaiming your own excellencies, you’re back to the tree in The Garden having a sin feast. If you’re reflecting the light of Christ, you’re in your proper lane.
You don’t have to point at the sky when you score a touchdown. You don’t have to go around with a plastered smile on your face. That isn’t the call here. The call here is to joyful obedience to proclaim the excellency of the One worthy of all praise. You will speak with your life.
Live your “that.”